• The Trussell Trust End of Year Statistics - 1st of April 2017 to 31st of March 2018 and Left Behind - Is Universal Credit Truly Universal?


    The Trussell Trust’s latest annual data return, and new study on the impact of Universal Credit – Left Behind, both published today, make for difficult but crucial reading. The Trussell Trust reports the distribution of over 1.3 million parcels between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, an increase of 13% on last year, with the single most common reason people had turned to a foodbank for support being because current benefits simply do not provide enough to live on. In their survey of people using foodbanks who are on Universal Credit, only 8% of respondents reported Universal Credit covered their living costs, and 70% of claimants had gone into debt whilst waiting for their first payment.


    This situation cannot continue, and IFAN support the Trussell Trust’s call for benefit levels to be uprated in line with inflation to ensure payments keep pace with the cost of living; for the current cap on the proportion of income at which advance payments of Universal Credit must be repaid to be lowered; and for an urgent inquiry into the administration of Universal Credit to tackle payment errors and delays.


    The Trussell Trust represents two-thirds of Britain’s food banks. With at least 746 independent food banks, as well as a large but unknown number of other food aid providers including community kitchens, drop-in meal programmes and local food pantries operating across the UK, the true levels of emergency food relief are certainly much higher. IFAN is currently working to establish a measure of the scale of food aid distributed by independent providers.


    However, we also know that emergency food aid reaches only a fraction of the 8.4 million people living with food insecurity in Britain today and, working alongside the Trussell Trust and other members of End Hunger UK, IFAN calls on the Government to establish a regular measure of food insecurity. IFAN also calls for the Government to begin to address the underlying problems driving food insecurity – a broken welfare system, unaffordable housing, low paid and insecure work, and an unsustainable food production, distribution and retail system.


    Independent Food Aid Network







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